I’m working on a project to help those who are loving and living with addicts. As you can imagine, the being the loved one of an addict is difficult. It is like watching a slow-motion crash over and over again, just hoping that it ends differently. It is hoping for change and yet hopeless at the same time. It is a time of confusion and pain. “Should I try ‘tough love’ or should I give her another chance?”
So, if you are in relationship with an addict and looking for more help and a bit of sanity…what would you want to read about? What would be helpful to you?
As heard in a sermon last Sunday by our intern, Jomo Johnson:
We are made to lust…
The good is the enemy of the best
Ever thought of lust being a good thing before? I hadn’t. He is saying that lust is a response that humans SHOULD have but that we turn this human response from the best object (God) to a good (and then later self-serving) object (others). When we speak of this, we usually use words like burning desire for…zealous for…
Context for these comments were his thoughts on Psalm 63. David’s lust, he said, got him into this trouble (curse given him after Bathsheba was violence in his family). Lust would now get him out (properly focused on God rather than self).
Helpful thoughts for those who struggle with strong addictive urges?
CCEF is giving away my talk last year at their annual conference on sexual addiction. You can listen to it her: http://www.ccef.org/counseling-strategies-individuals-addictions
I’ll be back there this November to talk about another sex topic: when sex in marriage doesn’t work. No, I don’t have it on the brain, it was their request and conference title….well, I guess that doesn’t exonerate me afterall.
Sunday morning, David Powlison gave a plenary talk entitled, “Escape to Reality.” He used 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 as his launch text. It was vintage David, chalk full of many examples of both soft and hard addictions. One could easily take his 10 points (which I don’t have exactly because I was sitting with my son who was lounging across me) and turn them into a 10 week bible study or SS class. As I remember them, he made the following points about the path back to reality:
1. Wake up (to see God, self, and other)
2. Own up (without excuse)
3. Stop the Death spiral (sin, guilt, and shame all tempt us inward. But we see in Christ, someone who is able to stay connected to God and other on the Cross even with the pain)
4. Connect to others (We need others to talk to so that we hear ourselves and get good feedback) SO, ask for help!
5. Ask for forgiveness (and none of that, “If I hurt you…” kind of half hearted repentance)
6. Forgive those who have hurt you
7. Rethink the problem of pain (pain shouldn’t be ignored or used as excuse)
8. Rethink the problem of pleasure (we vacillate between workaholism and overindulging in pleasure. We are made for pleasure but within bounds)
9. Re-evaluate the struggle. When someone shows signs of stopping addictive behaviors. Maybe they only go into a rage 3 times in a week instead of 12. That’s something to celebrate. But of course the struggle continues and there’s more to repent.
Um, I’m missing the tenth. Someone there remember what it was?
Check on my “Slides, Articles, etc.” page for slides of my talk, “Counseling Strategies for Individuals Struggling with Addictions.” The slides are in PPT format and are the last entry (#10) on the page.
The first day of the conference is now over. It was good to see many old friends, students, alumni, and to make some new friends as well. Ed Welch opened the conference by talking about the normalcy of even the most severe addictions (he used the illustration of a man who drank Aqua Velva while in the psych. ward and needed to go detox (from one hospital ward to another). He talked about how Scripture would still speak to some of “Mr. Gray’s life and situation.”
Best line from Ed, “God sends us individuals to challenge the clarity of our [little] minds.”
Soon after Mark Driscoll, pastor of the Mega Church Mars Hills in Seattle, talked about some of the facets of atonement can help addicts. Several interesting takeaways
1. He did a quick summary of 1 Corinthians. ch 1-4 is about false gods and doctrines. Ch 5-7 is about various perversions of sex; ch 6 is about division; ch 8-11 is about addictions, abuse of food, alcohol abuse, gluttony; ch 11 discusses gender issues; ch 12-14 is about spiritual gifts and that those the Corinthian church is rich with gifts but lacks love; and finally ch. 15 which is about the necessity of the Cross. Driscoll made the point that all this was happening in the church of about 50 people! And yet Paul (in the first chapter) has hope for this misfit bunch.
2. Conviction of sin from God? Leads to repentance and joy. Conviction of sin from Satan? Leads to discouragement and being crushed.
There were several breakouts but I was busy with my own presentation.
Later this week, CCEF will hold their annual teaching conference in Valley Forge, PA. The theme this year is addictions. I have the pleasure of teaching on Friday along with their faculty/staff. Also teaching are Diane Langberg, John Freeman, Leslie Vernick and guest appearances by Mark Driscoll and music by the Gettys. Will have my slides up here after the conference. I will be outlining two main techniques useful in the early stages of counseling those struggling with addictions.
Should be a fun time. If you come, stop by the Biblical Seminary table to chat…
I’m probably doing too many ads here but as I’m off today for conference with Paul Wachtel (see my “on my nightstand” for a link for his book), I thought I would tell you all about a conference this fall by CCEF. This year they are teaching on addictions. I, along with Diane Langberg, Leslie Vernick, John Freeman, and the usual crew of CCEF faculty, are going to be doing a number of great teachings on the problem of addictions. My talk will be for counselors trying to work with addicts. Check out www.ccef.org for more details.